The Bronx still boasts its fair share of grand homes, but many mansions of New York City’s northernmost borough have been lost to time. The Bronx once offered a rural retreat for wealthy New Yorkers desiring to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. They built opulent summer homes in places like Pelham Bay and Hunts Point where they could enjoy views of the Long Island Sound and the East River. As the city expanded northward, these estates were eventually enveloped by the growing urban footprint of New York City, taken over by industry, higher-density housing, and parkland. Revisit 7 lost mansions of the Bronx here!
1. Lorilard Mansion
In 1792, the Lorillard brothers purchased a grist mill and fifty acres of land along the Bronx River. The Lorillard’s came from a wealthy French Huguenot family who made their fortune in the tobacco industry with snuff. In the Bronx, their business continued to flourish as they developed innovative new methods for producing powdered tobacco. They built multiple mills on the property, the third of which still stands today.
In addition to the snuff-producing facilities, the estate contained the lovely Lorillard Mansion, built in 1856 for Pierre Lorillard III and his wife, Katherine Ann Griswold. The 68-room stone mansion was three stories tall. When Pierre died, the home was passed to his son Pierre Lorillard IV. The fourth Pierre moved the family tobacco factory again, this time to Jersey City. In 1884, Pierre IV sold the grounds of the Lorillard estate to the City of New York, which in turn transferred part of the land to the New York Botanical Garden in 1915. The mansion was converted into a museum and was used by the Bronx Society of Arts & Sciences. It caught fire in 1923 and the remnants were demolished. The legacy of the estate lives on as the grounds that are now part of the Botanical Garden.